Conventional medicine treats arthritis symptoms, not underlying causes, but you can do better than that.
Most doctors consider arthritis to be an autoimmune disease that triggers inflammation, stiffness and pain. There are many variations including tendinitis, rheumatoid, fibromyalgia, lupus, osteoarthritis, and gout. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs focus on treating symptoms, but all drugs have negative side-effects. At the bare minimum, since drugs must be processed by your liver, they'll put a strain on this already overworked organ.
What causes arthritis and can it be helped by natural remedies?
Since the resources of our modern health system have focused on treating symptoms with drugs for so long, no one knows for certain what causes arthritis pain and other symptoms for every person.
However, over the years a body of knowledge has built up that can help ease symptoms naturally and address what appear to be underlying causes.
The best natural remedies start with internal cleansing to remove built-up toxins, with the next step being improved nutrition - eating foods known for their healing effects. The third significant factor, and it could very well be the most important, is to take an honest look at the body-mind connection to your stiffness and pain.
What does 'body-mind connection' mean? There is an important connection between your emotional state and the state of your body's health. Some practitioners believe that a lack of acceptance and love for ourselves is the main factor behind all disease and discomforts.
If you have arthritis, or any condition, ask yourself what was going on in your life in the one to two years before you developed symptoms? Are you open and flexible to considering new ideas, or are you closed and judgmental?
Arthritis has a significant body-mind connection - between how rigidly you view yourself, your life and others and how your body manifests these rigid attitudes in pain and stiffness. Notice what happens as you develop a softer, more accepting opinion of yourself and others and cultivate a more positive outlook on life. If you suffer from osteoarthritis you probably have a tendency to feel victimized and blame others for your unhappiness. Osteoarthritis can indicate that you are feeling unloved and criticized. Instead of looking outside yourself for happiness, love and validation, practice being more loving and accepting of yourself.
If you've had arthritis for years, the contributing factor of a build-up of waste (toxins) in your body's tissues can be removed through nutritional cleansing which, over time, may provide a significant easing of stiffness and pain as your body systems normalize.
Once you've removed toxins through cleansing, you can find noticeable improvement if you practice these 10 healthy eating habits:
*Eat more whole, raw, unprocessed foods.
*Switch to fresh, local, organically grown foods to clear impurities.
*Juice fresh celery and carrots with a few sprigs of fresh parsley and drink daily to neutralize wastes circulating in your system.
*Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties, but take the extract with food to avoid potential heartburn. Dose: 1 tsp fresh root or 1 g. powdered root added to food. Or steep two tbsp. freshly shredded ginger for 15 minutes to make a potent tea.
*Curcumin reduces inflammation and enhances the effects of anti-inflammatory medications. It is the active ingredient in Turmeric, which is used to make curry. Use 1 tsp in your food every day.
*Take a balanced blend of Omega 3-6-9 oils every day to help manage arthritis symptoms. Omega-3 fats from fish and fish oil supplements lower inflammation to reduce joint stiffness. Take 1 g. EPA/DHA oil supplement daily. Increase your consumption of fatty fish and omega-3 eggs. Stop taking the oil two weeks before having surgery.
*Supplement with Vitamin D! A recent study found that women whose diets were highest in vitamin D had the lowest incidence of rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D helps balance the immune system. In northern climates between mid-October and the end of March, supplement with 1000 IU daily.
*Colorful berries - blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and two other foods - acai berries and cherries act like aspirin in their anti-inflammatory abilities. Eat as many as you want, unless you have a history of kidney stones, in which case, avoid them.
*Eat more fresh pineapple which contains bromelain, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.
*Take a good quality probiotic supplement to improve your digestive health.
Note: Consult with your doctor if you take blood thinners like warfarin or Coumadin before using ginger, curcumin and Omega 3-6-9 oils daily.
An arthritis-friendly diet avoids these foods:
*Canned salmon and tuna - acids in these foods react with acids in metal
*White rice, milk, dairy products, red meat, caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and everything that contains sugar.
*Nightshade vegetables (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, white potatoes). These foods contain a substance called solanine, to which some people, particularly those suffering from arthritis, are highly sensitive. Solanine interferes with enzymes in the muscles and may cause pain and discomfort.
*Iron supplements, or a multivitamin containing iron. Iron is suspected of being involved in pain, swelling and joint destruction. Consume iron in foods instead. Good sources include blackstrap molasses, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fish, lima beans and peas.
*Acid-forming foods which damage nerve tissues such as:
* Manmade and processed foods
* White wine
* Orange juice
* White flour
* Animal proteins
Other important strategies for easing or eliminating arthritis:
*Get regular moderate exercise, which is essential for reducing pain and retarding joint deterioration. Regular activity that does not put stress on affected joints, but strengthens surrounding bones, muscles and ligaments is valuable for many types of arthritis. Bicycle riding, walking, Tai Chi and water exercises are good choices. Avoid running, weight-bearing or impact exercises.
*Do an activity you love such as swimming, a hobby or interacting with people who are joyful.
*Learn how to do Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to neutralize energy blocks in your body. Work with an experienced practitioner for maximum benefit.
*Choose and use positive affirmations several times a day. E.g. "I am loved. I now choose to love and approve of myself. I see others with love." (From Louise Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life").
*Honor and value yourself by making your well being a priority every day.
*Simplify your life - get your priorities straight.
*Resolve whatever conflict is stealing your energy and enthusiasm for life.
*Look for and accept the lesson from everything that happens to you - 'good' or 'bad'.
*Forgive others for what they did or should have done.
*Most of all forgive yourself.